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Arsonist in action - Fireball takes out business caught on surveillance video

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Published on Oct 30, 2012

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Police are hoping surveillance video of an arsonist at work will help catch the firebug.

A little over a month ago, a deliberately set fire destroyed a north Edmonton liquor store and a hair salon and caused two million dollars damage on the northeast corner of Northgate shopping centre.

Staff Sgt Howard Kunce says the release of the surveillance video that shows a suspect pouring a flammable substance on the floor of the hair salon moments before a fireball erupted will spark some needed tips.

"You can see the potential accelerant. It looks like a gas can, it's liquid, I'm going to guess that its gas. But that's not been confirmed. We will know at some point in time what the accelerant was, but we don't today."

The fire was in the early morning hours of September 26th at the Shadified Salon and Spa near 137th Avenue and 93rd Street.

"You'll see him actually physically bend down. Now for all I know he could have been throwing a match, he could have been using a lighter, I don't know"

Kunce says the fireball was so big, investigators believe the suspect suffered possibly significant burns.

"It is not clear just how serious these injuries may have been however we believe that this person may have sought out medical assistance," explains Kunce. "This assistance may not necessarily have been at a medical facility, it may have come from a friend or family member. It could even have been self administered."

Kunce says it's possible the individual may have also travelled to seek out medical assistance from somewhere outside the metro Edmonton area.

The video surveillance is really beneficial, according to Kunce.

"This is unique, to get something like this, I've never seen video this good before," adds Kunce.

He says it is unclear exactly how he got away.

"We don't have any deliberate evidence as to a vehicle. We surmise a vehicle was involved. You have to get away from the scene and you can't get to the scene carrying a gas can and not be viewed as being suspicious."

Damage to the business is extensive and Kunce expects the building will need to be completely redone.

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